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Old Man's War by John Scalzi
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Old Man's War (original 2005; edition 2007)

by John Scalzi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,278263837 (4.09)3 / 364
Member:jasonlf
Title:Old Man's War
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, novel, science fiction

Work details

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (2005)

  1. 162
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (goodiegoodie, jlynno84)
  2. 153
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (ohdio, jlynno84)
    ohdio: This book contains a lot of action, while still maintaining a nice human element.
  3. 100
    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (JulesJones)
    JulesJones: Two books which examine in different ways what happens to the recruits in an interstellar war who by the very nature of their service can never go back to their home culture.
  4. 80
    Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold (jlynno84)
  5. 30
    The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Karlstar)
    Karlstar: John Scalzi introduces the universe of the Colonial Union in this book. Similar in feel to Starship Troopers, in many ways.
  6. 20
    Dauntless by Jack Campbell (goodiegoodie, BruderBane)
  7. 31
    Armor by John Steakley (goodiegoodie)
  8. 10
    Future War by Jack Dann (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: An anthology of stories in this vein.
  9. 10
    Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein (JulesJones)
    JulesJones: The obvious Heinlein influence on Scalzi's "Old Man's War" is "Starship Troopers", but this also covers some of the same ground as Heinlein's YA "Space Cadet".
  10. 10
    Containment by Christian Cantrell (freddlerabbit)
  11. 00
    Expendable by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
  12. 00
    Cobra by Timothy Zahn (PhoenixFalls)
  13. 00
    47 Echo by Shawn Kupfer (tottman)
    tottman: 47 Echo lacks the depth (and the universe-spanning scope) of Old Man's War, but the story and the fighting are both quite enjoyable. I won't say it's nearly as good as Old Man's War, but it is a quick, fun enjoyable read. And there's a lot of potential from this author I hope to see come out in future books.… (more)
  14. 00
    Grease Monkey by Tim Eldred (goodiegoodie)
  15. 00
    Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell (tcgardner)
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English (256)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  English (263)
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)
Good, quick read. Scalzi doesn't waste much getting into the action, and doesn't wait long to keep delivering. Early in the book there are some scenes with sex that may be a bit much for young teenage readers, but overall this is a book that teens would probably get into. ( )
  rdwhitenack | Dec 1, 2016 |
I haven't read a book I loved this much in quite a while. It just may have turned me into a military sci-fi fan. ( )
  oswallt | Nov 25, 2016 |
I don't know what it is about war and sci-fi, but it seems to be a common setup. This book was quite different from Redshirts in style, but it did have similar themes, and I got a similar message about authority and the the responsibilities of a regular soldier.

The thing about most sci-fi and me is that normally I get bored after a few chapters. Not because stuff isn't happening, but because once the premise is set up (the particular brand of time travel, aliens that can only speak the truth, some grave peril for the earth...you know the drill) I stop caring. If I don't really care about the characters or if the plot seems to be straightforward I have a hard time finishing the book. Old Man's War wasn't like that, though. I read it very quickly, and I'm almost intrigued enough by the premise to get the sequels.

The premise is that the space colonist's army recruits from the retired population. You have to be 75 to join. They magically fix up the recruits since normal 75 year old bodies aren't that good for fighting, and after a brief training, send them off to defend colonies and claim new worlds for humanity. There are good insights into military thinking as well as politics and technology. Scalzi uses the "the science is too advanced for the main character" trick to avoid unnecessary jargon and wrong facts. It's obvious, but well done, and only a little condescending.

The thing I liked best was that they kept solving the mysteries, but by the time one sci-fi conundrum was explained (how do they get them in fighting form?) The next was already set up to be explored (how do we get from one end of the galaxy to another? Aliens, good or bad? Advanced or weak? What's their motivation?). Nicely done, especially nice for people like me who only like the initial premises of sci-fi and not the slow build up and pontificating that usually plagues novel-length sci-fi. Scalzi put in all the cool premises and explained them by the end, but set up the world so there are further adventures to be had, probably using all the tropes he didn't get to play with yet. We'll see. This one ended so well I might just leave it and move on to the next thing. ( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
This reminds me of Ender's Game only difference being hte use of hte elderly rather than childrne. Scalzi has written nearly the perfect military science fiction masterpiece. Action, adventure and plenty of imagination have gone into writing this one. ( )
  RickWilliam | Sep 30, 2016 |
really enjoyed this read. certainly a lowish reading level, but that's never stopped me! ( )
  Mrdrewk | Aug 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emerich, BernadetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To Regan Avery, first reader extraordinaire, And always to Kristine and Athena.
First words
I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.
Quotations
There has never been a military in the entire history of the human race that has gone to war equipped with more than the least that it needs to fight its enemy. War is expensive. It costs money and it costs lives and no civilization has an infinite amount of either. So when you fight, you conserve. You use and equip only as much as you have to, never more.
The reason we use force...is that force is the easiest thing to use. It's fast, it's straightforward, and compared to the complexities of diplomacy, it's simple. You either hold a piece of land or you don't. As opposed to diplomacy, which is intellectually a much more difficult enterprise.


. . . "There has never been a military in the entire history of the human race that has gone to war equipped with more than the least that it needs to fight its enemy. War is expensive. It costs money and it costs lives and no civilization has an infinite amount of either. So when you fight, you conserve. You use and equip only as much as you have to, never more."

He stared at us grimly. "Is any of this getting through? Do any of you understand what I'm trying to tell you? You don't have these shiny new bodies and pretty new weapons because we want to give you an unfair advantage. You have these bodies and weapons because they are the absolute minimum that will allow you to fight and survive out there. We don't want to give you these bodies, you dipshits. It's just that if we didn't, the human race would already be extinct."

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348276, Mass Market Paperback)

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.
 
The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce--and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
 
Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.
 
John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master."--"Publishers Weekly," starred review. A Hugo Award finalist.… (more)

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